Industrial fertilizers are the only way to substantially increase yields per hectare and thereby limit the expansion of farmland at the expense of already strained forests. North America, Western Europe and Asia consume four-fifths of the total fertilizer used in the world.
In Asia, the first Green Revolution has considerably increased the productivity of the three major staple crops of rice, wheat and corn. Although India suffered from food shortage until the 1960’s, it has become a major agricultural power today.
There is still time for a second Green Revolution in India and the other Asian countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. However, it is in Sub-Saharan Africa and developing countries where the greatest returns can be found. It is also in those regions where 450 million small farmers have the opportunity to produce the additional global supply necessary to satisfy the planet’s needs. Therefore, the greatest effect on food security could come from the first African Green Revolution.
Today there are advanced fertilizer formulas that deliver the same productivity and yield improvements, while limiting the potential downsides of fertilizers, including phosphates, on the environment. They are encompassed in the concept of the “evergreen” agricultural revolution, which has allowed for increased yields while respecting ecosystems and the environment.
This practice of sustainable agriculture is built on the premise of “the right dose of fertilizer in the right place, at the right time” and has helped decrease the use of chemical fertilizers since 1990, for example, by 20 percent over ten years in France.For OCP, the impact of increased efficiency of fertilizer use will help us sustainably meet the increased demand for fertilizer due to population growth, the requirements for global food security and the growing demand of the bio-fuel industry.